Handling financial differences

azurebonds

New member
My wife is my NP and my girlfriend will eventually move into her collocated house with me.

At the moment, there is no financial intermingling with my girlfriend. Technically, my wife has her own accounts and money, but it’s nearly impossible to not have some connection with a state licensed marriage.

I am watching as my girlfriend’s hours are cut and her finances strained.

There is a massive wealth and income difference between us, as is there between my wife and I. This would likely be the case with most potential partners.

I could easily wipe away her debts and eliminate her expenses, but that’s going to set a horrible precedent that’ll be hard to come back from.

She hasn’t asked for help and I am currently taking the position that I shouldn’t just step in.

Any thoughts on how I should handle this?
 
Hello azurebonds,

I guess this is something for you to take up with your girlfriend directly. She may not want help. If she does, you could set some kind of minimal allowance, enough to live on, and let her earn the extra. But I suppose you shouldn't even raise the topic with her unless/until you're quite sure she is going to be with you for the long haul. Your wife could have a similar allowance. But I don't know, I've never had the "problem" of having lots of money, so I don't know the rules/etiquette about that.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 
Hello azurebonds,

I guess this is something for you to take up with your girlfriend directly. She may not want help. If she does, you could set some kind of minimal allowance, enough to live on, and let her earn the extra. But I suppose you shouldn't even raise the topic with her unless/until you're quite sure she is going to be with you for the long haul. Your wife could have a similar allowance. But I don't know, I've never had the "problem" of having lots of money, so I don't know the rules/etiquette about that.

Regards,
Kevin T.
I am worried for a number of reasons.

I don’t like taking away people’s autonomy. I pay my wife to be a SAHM, but that’s because I consider that her job and no one else is going to pay for it. She has complete control of her own money otherwise. I do pay all bills but that’s because I consider a relative income percentage to be more fair than 50-50.

For my girlfriend, giving her an allowance will completely shift the power balance between us. After I sent this message, she did approach me about it. Fortunately, I understand how to operate within the system better than she does. So, I am going to try to reduce her burden without giving her money first.

If we take out the “problem,” so to speak, I would hope there to be a general strategy for handling finances within a poly relationship structure. Or are poly relationships typically financially independent?
 
I mean I will say that my meta lives with my husband and I and more-or-less doesn’t pay rent (she does give us some money but it’s enough to cover her groceries/meals, utilities and perhaps a pittance to the house) and I’m really ok with that - husband makes 2x what I do, meta makes less than me but with a graduate degree (as opposed to me with none) and a massive amount of student loans. In fact, if we ever split households, I’m entirely ok with husband paying some towards her life expenses as it’s only fair that he should be able to, given how much he has and does subsidize my life. Otherwise that’s some _shit_ couple privilege…
 
I mean I will say that my meta lives with my husband and I and more-or-less doesn’t pay rent (she does give us some money but it’s enough to cover her groceries/meals, utilities and perhaps a pittance to the house) and I’m really ok with that - husband makes 2x what I do, meta makes less than me but with a graduate degree (as opposed to me with none) and a massive amount of student loans. In fact, if we ever split households, I’m entirely ok with husband paying some towards her life expenses as it’s only fair that he should be able to, given how much he has and does subsidize my life. Otherwise that’s some _shit_ couple privilege…
Speaking of couple privilege, I have noticed a bit of territorial behavior on the part of my wife concerning use of my money. We’ve always had a strict separation on my money vs. her money. We also give each other complete freedom to use our own money as we see fit, which has included her helping her own friends; however, since starting my relationship, she’s been trying to set boundaries on my use of my money with my girlfriend.

I didn’t even think about that until you mentioned it.
 
Oh dear, I sense a difficult conversation coming up. I hope one of the reasons you're well off is you're an exceptional people manager.
 
Oh dear, I sense a difficult conversation coming up. I hope one of the reasons you're well off is you're an exceptional people manager.
I actually just asked her about it. She said that the reason that she is so concerned is because my bipolar disorder isn’t well controlled and she’s worried that I will offload a ton of money to my girlfriend.

It’s an interesting thought, but it does kind of indicate a bit of a distrust in my girlfriend, in that she thinks that my girlfriend would accept such a thing and that she needs to regulate me.
 
What reasons does she have to trust your girlfriend?
 
What reasons does she have to trust your girlfriend?
I guess she has as little reason to trust my girlfriend as she does my judgment.

That being said, I am not newly manic, just newly diagnosed. I should remind her that my wealth was built on my neuroses. It seems silly to doubt me now.

It seems like the NP has a little more sway in poly relationships? I suppose those barriers will need to be worked through if we are to make this work.
 
So right now, you seem to be fairly comfortable. But have you planned for the future, financially speaking? Are you set up for a job loss, major illness or a major shift in caregiving responsibilities?

If you are not, this is why your wife might feel territorial over the money you earn. She is thinking longer term about what your family could use now or in the future. Meanwhile, you are considering taking financial responsibility for another person.
 
I guess she has as little reason to trust my girlfriend as she does my judgment.

That being said, I am not newly manic, just newly diagnosed. I should remind her that my wealth was built on my neuroses. It seems silly to doubt me now.

It seems like the NP has a little more sway in poly relationships? I suppose those barriers will need to be worked through if we are to make this work.
Have you done any research into polyamory at all, like poly dynamics, the rights of a "secondary," communication skills, etc.? Or are you just running blind full speed ahead because you're in a manic period?

You don't seem to trust yourself, so how can either of your partners trust you or each other?

Excuse me for asking, but are you currently being treated with medications and talk therapy? I know it can take time for meds to kick in, and talk therapy can take a year before any progress is made at all.

One more question, would you please remind us how long you've had this gf? I'd think starting to support her financially could wait until your relationship is well-established. Certainly that's how most people operate, whether mono or poly. If I made appreciably more money than a partner, I'd want to get over the NRE hump first, say, a good 18 months to two years, before I'd be paying their rent, paying off their debts, offering to provide them with expensive things like cars or major dental work, fancy trips to foreign climes, and so on. Prior to that, sure, pay for restaurant meals, an occasional concert or show, give them a nice (not over the top) birthday or Christmas present, flowers sometimes.

Please read and listen to the resources we have listed here:

 
I am unclear--is your girlfriend going to move into your home with you and your wife?

Or are you going to have two homes--one with wife, one with girlfriend?

Or something different?
 
So right now, you seem to be fairly comfortable. But have you planned for the future, financially speaking? Are you set up for a job loss, major illness or a major shift in caregiving responsibilities?

If you are not, this is why your wife might feel territorial over the money you earn. She is thinking longer term about what your family could use now or in the future. Meanwhile, you are considering taking financial responsibility for another person.
I talked to her some more. Basically, I was largely paralyzed with excessive thinking due to other conditions. Now that those are well treated, my manic-driven impulsivity has free reign. She’s just worried that I am going to do something that I will regret.

As for stability, you can never plan for everything, but I have a pretty solid foundation and a lot of insurance. I have always split caregiving equally, but if she was unable to do her part for any unforeseen reason, I would have to hire a nanny.
 
I am unclear--is your girlfriend going to move into your home with you and your wife?

Or are you going to have two homes--one with wife, one with girlfriend?

Or something different?
Initially, she would move into the ADU which is part of my house. It’s essentially its own apartment with a kitchen, two bedrooms, a laundry, a bathroom, a living room and a porch.

Eventually, as my neighbors sell, I would buy up a house or so. She could then have an independent property.
 
If your gf is in somewhat dire straits now, perhaps, rather than bail her out, you can help her in other ways than money in the bank. Do a (sensible) grocery shop with her perhaps?
 
I see two different dynamics going on here.

1. You don't want to give too much where she loses her autonomy
2. You don't want to overspend when manic.

You should address these things separately. You could help out with specific bills on a monthly basis but not pay off debt or give her money directly.

And to address 2. You could open a separate account with a pre determined amount (chosen when not manic) that limits what you can spend on her.(Monthly, yearly, whatever you choose) ..when it's empty, it's empty.

Something like that
 
If your gf is in somewhat dire straits now, perhaps, rather than bail her out, you can help her in other ways than money in the bank. Do a (sensible) grocery shop with her perhaps?
I was thinking about helping her change something more fundamental that’ll help her long term.

Her hours were cut substantially, so she’s now paycheck to paycheck. That’ll work for the time being, but it’s not sustainable.

She got incredibly sick after her initial covid bout and ended up with a massive amount of medical debt. I referred her to a lawyer to begin bankruptcy discussions. She is extremely diligent about bill payment, but there’s no way that she can have that hanging over her at her current pay. I may cover the legal fees.

She also, due to child poverty worse than mine, never finished or even really started high school. She’s extremely intelligent, but she just had little opportunity. I was thinking of paying for tutoring for her GED.

She has expressed interest in a trade. I know how to navigate the financial aid system and at her level of poverty could probably make quite a dent in that alone. I may help with startup or the remainder of the cost of schooling.

Now, with a trade in hand, I can use my network to get her a job. With the elimination of her bills by moving to my ADU, she can begin saving. Once she has enough to be independent from me financially, I can then help her to invest any excess.

That’s my general plan.
 
I see two different dynamics going on here.

1. You don't want to give too much where she loses her autonomy
2. You don't want to overspend when manic.

You should address these things separately. You could help out with specific bills on a monthly basis but not pay off debt or give her money directly.

And to address 2. You could open a separate account with a pre determined amount (chosen when not manic) that limits what you can spend on her.(Monthly, yearly, whatever you choose) ..when it's empty, it's empty.

Something like that
A separate account is an excellent idea. That’ll be her fund and will likely put my wife’s fears to rest.
 
Have you done any research into polyamory at all, like poly dynamics, the rights of a "secondary," communication skills, etc.? Or are you just running blind full speed ahead because you're in a manic period?

You don't seem to trust yourself, so how can either of your partners trust you or each other?

Excuse me for asking, but are you currently being treated with medications and talk therapy? I know it can take time for meds to kick in, and talk therapy can take a year before any progress is made at all.

One more question, would you please remind us how long you've had this gf? I'd think starting to support her financially could wait until your relationship is well-established. Certainly that's how most people operate, whether mono or poly. If I made appreciably more money than a partner, I'd want to get over the NRE hump first, say, a good 18 months to two years, before I'd be paying their rent, paying off their debts, offering to provide them with expensive things like cars or major dental work, fancy trips to foreign climes, and so on. Prior to that, sure, pay for restaurant meals, an occasional concert or show, give them a nice (not over the top) birthday or Christmas present, flowers sometimes.

Please read and listen to the resources we have listed here:

I do a lot of research. It’s in my nature. It’s one of the reasons that I am on this site, but I also like feedback. Like I am reading Polysecure right now. As for did I have a fully established knowledge base before jumping in? No, but I have always been a get a gist of the theory, get real experience and modify over time person. It’s iterative self-development to borrow a software delivery theme.

Philosophically, I believe that the self is not a fixed thing. My personal experience has only been evidence of this. That being said, if trust is earned, then I have more than done so.

I am actually seeing my psychiatrist today. It’s been a wild ride.

I have been with my girlfriend for about 2 months. I am naturally nosey and talk to her from the time I wake up till she goes to sleep, so I know pretty much everything there is to know, blemishes and all.

You are right though. My wife, who I have been married to for 14 years and in a relationship for 19, would be less than thrilled if I just started throwing thousands at my girlfriend. I think the suggestion in this thread of using a dedicated spending account is a good one, as it will limit the range of help.

Does my plan I laid out in another reply make sense?
 
Your plan sounds fine to me, get that new account for helping your girlfriend, and help her with her education and with getting a trade.
 
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